Staff Team

Gillian Wood has a bachelor's degree in psychology and women's studies with a minor in African-American studies from Middlebury College and a master's degree in international public health from New York University. Her undergraduate thesis explored how pornography influences hegemonic masculinity and correlates with violence against women and children. For her graduate internship with ECPAT-USA, Gillian helped write and ratify Safe Harbor legislation, advocating for states to recognize sexually exploited youth as victims instead of criminals. Bringing a survivor lens to her leadership, she completed a two-year program in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) under the supervision of Marsha Linehan. She is pursuing her alcohol and drug counseling certification through the University of California San Diego.

Gillian has taught bilingual special education summer school in the South Bronx, NY, worked as a youth coordinator in a domestic violence shelter in Brooklyn, NY, as residential staff in a group home for adolescent girls in Seattle, WA, and a recreational aide for children and youth with developmental disabilities in New York City. Gillian spent eight years working for Child Protective Services in Seattle, WA and Denver, CO as a visitation supervisor and an intake caseworker investigating reports of child abuse and neglect. On the overnight crisis team, she worked closely with law enforcement. She has many years of experience testifying in court on behalf of women and children. With her extensive knowledge, experience, and passion, Gillian has been invited to speak at charitable and educational engagements.

A lifelong athlete and coach, Gillian was a semi-professional ballerina, a competitive and show figure skater, a collegiate competitive cheerleader, a collegiate soccer forward, and a collegiate track sprinter and jumper. She currently trains as an adult figure skater, snowboards and surfs recreationally, and performs in a flying trapeze circus show. Gillian is an active participant in charity events such as the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America's MG Walk and Susan G. Komen's Race for the Cure. She is an avid activist at rallies to support Black Lives Matter, the Women's March, Pride, indigenous and immigrant rights, and the environment.

Gillian Wood
MPH, CADC candidate

Founding Director


Angela 'Angie' Meadows has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Azusa Pacific University. During her undergraduate program, she studied abroad in South Africa where she collaborated with local leaders through an agricultural community development program. Angie also has a master's degree in social work from the University of Denver where she interned with Denver Public Schools in school social work and Denver Human Services in child welfare. Angie has been involved with academic research and policy advocacy on issues related to sexual exploitation including youth homelessness, survivor mentoring, experiential therapy, and the Equality Model. She is currently pursuing her clinical licensure in California.


Angie's work history includes time at Maryvale in California, a residential treatment program for children, where she was a residential staff for girls ages 11 through 14. Angie was a lead residential staff at Resilience Rising's residential childcare facility in Colorado and has continued to mentor RR alumnae. She is drawn to Resilience Rising because of its emphasis on the intersections of power, privilege, and oppression with experiences of trauma and its call to action for social justice.


A competitive swimmer and soccer player throughout her childhood, Angie is drawn to the outdoors and enjoys engaging youth in water and wilderness activities. She spends her free time surfing and playing beach volleyball.

Angela Meadows, MSW
 Program Manager


Amy Au has a bachelor’s degree in education from Texas Christian University where her focus was elementary and special education. Amy is currently pursuing a master's degree in counseling psychology from the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. Amy worked for Cru International in East Asia for seventeen years. As a senior staff member, she trained and evaluated staff, focusing on leadership development and issues related to diversity and cultural competency. She currently works as a case manager for Bridge of Hope serving single mothers and their children who are at risk of homelessness. Through her organization Untold to Rewritten, Amy provides trauma informed narrative therapy to individuals in the community .

Amy was the inaugural assistant director for Resilience Rising's grand opening in Colorado and then fulfilled a contracted role as RR's staff care professional. Amy helps staff to mitigate the impact of vicarious trauma through the provision of insight and nurturing around trauma stewardship. She has a heart for helping women grow, recover, and thrive through exploring how their past and present overlap. 

Amy Au, MACP candidate
 Staff Wellness Coach


Caroline Pinckney has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Auburn University in Alabama and a master's degree in social work from the University of Denver where she also holds a certificate in animal assisted social work. She interned as an outpatient therapist at the Aurora Mental Health Center. Her work history includes time as an activities coordinator at Haddie's Home for girls in crisis, a residential program in Alabama serving ages 6 through 18. Caroline is currently pursuing her clinical licensure in Colorado and works as a therapist at Tennyson Center for Children. 


Caroline was a residential staff at Resilience Rising's residential childcare facility in Colorado and has continued to mentor RR alumnae. Caroline is drawn to Resilience Rising's focus on youth empowerment and its commitment to providing opportunities for youth to speak out against oppressive systems and advocate for social justice.


Lydia van der Vorst has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She has a long history of volunteer work including mentoring, gardening, and outreach with a particular passion for supporting youth. She currently works with the elderly population in assisted living.


Lydia was a residential staff at Resilience Rising's residential childcare facility in Colorado and has continued to mentor RR alumnae. An avid activist for issues of social justice, she frequently attended rallies with RR residents to advocate for the rights of women, BIPOC and LGBTQ communities, and the environment.

Elyssa Lewis has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Metropolitan State University of Denver and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary humanities and social thought from New York University. Driven by a passion for human rights and social justice, Elyssa has volunteered alongside Habitat for Humanity in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and worked as a Girl Scouts counselor in the Yup'ik villages of rural Alaska. Elyssa is a poet, musician, and artist from Colorado whose work has been published in academic journals and poetry magazines. Elyssa currently works in hospice, bringing her nurturing, compassionate energy to the end of life process.

Elyssa was a lead residential staff and interim assistant director at Resilience Rising's residential childcare facility in Colorado and has continued to mentor RR alumnae. Having always been drawn to the particular challenges facing women and girls in contemporary society, Elyssa's employment with Resilience Rising results from years of intuition-led preparation.


Esther Hernandez

Lead Residential Supervisor, Esther Hernandez, has been a consistent force on the RR team. Her ability to connect art to healing is an asset. Esther is currently a resident artist at Redline, a nonprofit contemporary art center that fosters education and engagement between artists and communities to create positive social change. She is also teaching high school students at the Center for Visual Art at Metropolitan State University; this summer internship engages the next generation in the evolving cultural capitol of Denver. Esther's artistic soul makes her real and accessible to the youth at Resilience Rising. And because of her consistency and commitment, the youth are able to recognize her as a genuine, stable presence in their lives.

PO Box 492, Denver, CO 80201             (206) 913-3361   


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